By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr. Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) main pharmacy is scheduled to undergo a $1.3 million renovation to upgrade and replace the automation dispensing machines beginning January 2013.
NMCSD is one of three Navy sites chosen to participate in a “proof of concept” pharmacy automation study funded by the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery to evaluate workflow performance, safety, efficiency and standardization of the new system.
Pharmacy renovations are scheduled in six-phases which will benefit both patients and staff members at NMCSD. The first phase, which was completed in June 2012 as part of a previous contract, included interior renovations such as new flooring, new ceilings, new lights and new paint. Phases two through six will renovate the pharmacy in sections to allow for continuous operation of pharmacy services during the installation of the new automated system PharmASSIST, a high volume, state-of-the-art workflow management and prescription filling system for high volume pharmacies. Renovations are scheduled to be complete in November 2013.
Lt. Cmdr. Caine Kras, NMCSD outpatient pharmacy section leader shared his thoughts on NMCSD pharmacy’s selection for this pilot program.
“We are very excited to implement and offer updated [automated services]. We are also proud of the impact we will be able to make across Navy Pharmacy,” said Kras.
Efficiency is key for the pharmacy’s staff, which currently processes more than 1800 prescriptions daily. The new automation system will be able to process double the current workload, allowing for increased capacity in the future.
“The largest change patients will notice during the renovation is that prescriptions will be dispensed from new temporary windows created at the back of the pharmacy; signs will be posted directing patients to the new windows,” explained Kras, who added that the installation of the new automation system will benefit the hospital’s beneficiaries by providing the safest and most efficient system available.
During the renovations in an effort to decrease wait time patients are encouraged to utilize alternate pharmacy options for their new prescriptions. These options include using the Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) Navy Exchange (NEX) Pharmacy and direct mail order. Beneficiaries who receive handwritten prescriptions from civilian providers who would normally go to NMCSD’s main pharmacy are requested to use alternate options. The NEX Pharmacy will have extended hours of operation and additional pharmacy staff to accommodate increased beneficiaries beginning Dec. 24 to June 2013. Beneficiaries can request that their NMCSD provider enter their maintenance medications for direct mail order to their home as well.
“There will be no loss of service. However, we highly encourage the use of mail order for maintenance medications,” Kras said. “We also highly encourage patients with civilian prescriptions to utilize the pharmacies at our branch health clinics and TRICARE outpatient clinics, primarily the NEX Pharmacy which will have extended hours and is only 10 minutes from NMCSD.”
For more information from Naval Medical Center San Diego’s pharmacy services, visit: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Patients/Pages/OnlinePharmacyRefillStatus.aspx or http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Patients/Pages/pharmacy.aspx